Is the adidas Predator Mania the best football boot ever made?

A wonderful XI of footballing gods who wore Adidas Predators: Beckham, Zidane…

The adidas Predator has the football world well and truly tied up in its tongue straps right now. We’re engulfed in it — watching matches purely to see who’s got the Preds with the tongue.

It’s been a long time since a football boot caused quite so much excitement among fans of all ages, and we miss that, honestly. We haven’t felt the unique thrill that comes with getting a new pair of boots that your very soul pines for in decades, but that might be changing.

In honour of this Predator mania, we’ve come up with our Predator Mania XI based on both ability and simply how much we associate these players with the legendary boot. And we’ve nailed it, to be fair. Pretty difficult to disagree with this:

GK: Iker Casillas

Goalkeeper for the Galacticos and one of the best ever to pull on the gloves. Five La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, two Euros, a World Cup, and the bloody rest. Take your arguments elsewhere.

RB: Philipp Lahm

Pep Guardiola reckons Lahm is one of the greatest and most intelligent players of all time. the fact that he’s a legend of the German national team and Bayern only adds to his Predator chops. Lahm is our right-back, no real competition.

READ: 13 players who thrived after changing positions from Henry to Pirlo…

CB: Marcel Desailly

Marcel ‘The Rock’ Desailly was solid, mobile, dominant, and exceptionally comfortable on the ball. The Preds won’t have hurt with that. A shoo-in.

CB: Fernando Hierro

Real Madrid’s inspirational captain as they ushered in the Galacticos era, Hierro held the whole operation together and was able to fill in in midfield if and when his team needed him. Not the flashiest name in that team, but an underrated hero in a gorgeous pair of boots.

LB: Ashley Cole

The best left-back England has ever had spent his entire career dominating the left-hand side of the pitch. He didn’t need to mark out his territory because the grounds staff had already done it for him when they painted (or chalked?) the touchline.

The greatest wingers of the age sewn into his back pocket, unable to escape, the poor bastards. He eventually became a proponent of the F50, but it all started in those Predator Manias.

RM: David Beckham

No other option was considered for this position. Let’s move on, shall we.

Manchester United's David Beckham celebrates scoring against Zalaegerszeg at Old Trafford, Manchester, August 2022.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every club David Beckham scored against for Man Utd?

CM: Steven Gerrard

Ninety-nine shot power, 99 stamina, 99 big f*cking diagonal switches, 99 leadership, 99 footwear.

CM: Patrick Vieira

Easily the best box-to-box midfielder of his generation, if not ever. Paddy could tackle, he combined strength with grace, could sniff an opposition attack from 300 miles away, could carry the ball, pass it, pop up with a goal… the complete midfielder in the complete boot.

LM: Zinedine Zidane

Many agree that Messi is the greatest ever to play the game, some go for Cristiano Ronaldo (bless), some stand by Maradona, Ronaldo Nazario or Pele. There are also a solid amount of people who would die on Zizou’s hill.

Certainly the greatest creative midfielder of all time, if not the greatest full-stop.

Glorious in all iterations of the Predator (especially those gold ones from the 2006 World Cup), and the only player to rival Becks in terms of Predatoriness.

CAM: Alessandro Del Piero

Pinturicchio, the heir to Bobby Baggio’s thrown and Juventus’ favourite son, literally did the adverts for the Predator Mania alongside Becks and co.

A scorer of logic-defying goals with both feet and tactically versatile, Del Piero is our just-off-the-striker magician.

ST: Raul

Already a near-mythical player in Madrid despite being only 46 years old, Raul Gonzales Blanco inherited the Blancos captaincy from the aforementioned Hierro.

He was truly prolific in that he scored more than a goal every other game over 550 appearances for Real Madrid, leading them to European glory. He was also, according to all who played alongside him, a consummate professional. Get him in the team.

What do you reckon? Have we got it right? Honourable mentions go to Fabian Barthez, Michael Ballack, Harry Kewell, Rui Costa, and David Trezeguet, but there’s plenty of room on the big, Adidas-branded bench.

Which iconic boot should we do next? Is any other boot challenging this baller XI?

READ NEXT: Trying to solve the great mystery of the revolutionary Adidas Predator boot

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player to score at the 2006 World Cup?